How to Prepare

A Sacrament Meeting Talk

Easy Steps Topic IdeasHow-To Tips 

We Need You

You’re Amazing

Thank you for saying yes! Gathering together on Sunday is an essential part of the Savior’s kingdom. Your speaking and sharing what you know contributes to everyone’s day. You can turn any topic into a great talk, mostly by sharing a couple of pieces of yourself: your failures, your hard-earned successes, your ah-ha moments, your favorite aspects of the gospel, and what you feel to be good and true.

man reading scriptures alone and leaning on brick wall

4 Steps to a Great Sacrament Meeting Talk

Here is a tried, and true formula for preparing a talk. It may appear simple, but it flows nicely from the pulpit.

1

Share an easy-to-understand, basic definition of the principle or topic you’ll be speaking about.

2

Tell a personable story that illustrates the principle (use your own whenever possible).

Note: steps 2 and 3 are interchangeable and repeatable.

3

Use 1-2 scripture references (no more!). Good to share some backstory or historical background about the verse, like who is speaking and what is taking place.

4

Close with your: testimony, personal feelings, gratitude, or your own story about the topic.

Quick Ways to Get topics & Ideas

Need More Help? Out of time?
Here are some helpful ideas and resources for talk material.

1. Do You Have an Assigned Topic?
  • Use the search icon 🔎  at the top of this site.
  • Try several different keywords or phrases that describe your topic (one at a time) like “sabbath say” or “temple covenants.”
  • You’ll find lots of articles with quotes, verses, and topic ideas.
2. Conference Talks With Highlights and Prompts

Go to the Conference Talks with 5 Highlights page.

  • Pick any “5 Highlights” General Conference talk.
  • Use one to three highlighted quotes
  • For each quote that you select – answer a couple of the discussion questions in first-person, tell stories, and share observations and experiences (make it about you)
  • Voila! You have an inspiring, memorable talk.
3. President Nelson Quotes & Ideas

The President Nelson Series has multiple talk ideas – our dear prophet is very current with the times and so quotable!

4. Sacrament Talk Templates

More complete outlines for talks.

Want An Even Better Talk?

Improve Your Confidence & Talk Delivery

Try out a couple of these tips:

  • Make cue cards or a list of cues on paper. Rather than write out every word of your talk, make 1-3 word prompts to remind you what comes next. Relax, it doesn’t have to be delivered in the most, perfect brilliant way (like you could at home) to be compelling and memorable. Cue your favorite parts on your cards or sheet of paper so you cover them.
  • Talk like you would to your friends in the foyer. Very few people are interested in a lecturer or in anyone’s self-authority. Be yourself and deliver in a more conversational way or use a story-telling style.
  • Look down as little as possible. Let them see your eyes and your face. If you feel nervous about making eye contact, look above the heads in front and at the back of the chapel. Facial expressions and gestures measurably increase how much of your talk they absorb.
  • Practice your talk in private several times – like in front of a bathroom mirror. See how it sounds out loud to yourself and make the necessary changes. (You’ll be surprised by how it sounds out loud – so don’t let the pulpit be the first time.) How often do you have to look down at your material – can you look up more?
  • Try to do as much from natural memory as possible. Even if you can only memorize short parts of it – that is better than hanging your head and reading all of it.
  • Smile. Work in a natural smile or positive facial expression every minute or less. Smiles increase people’s attention in any situation.
  • Feeling emotion and crying at the pulpit is not an automatic sign of spirituality or the presence of the Spirit (credit to Howard W. Hunter for pointing that out.) (Kind acts and service to the Lord during the week that no one sees are true spirituality. ~Marvin J. Ashton) Some of the most powerful talks ever delivered at a General Conference don’t have a tear in them and are delivered by those who seldom cry or very little when they do. Don’t automatically be impressed with those who regularly demonstrate emotions/crying or who can sway emotions at the pulpit – so often, that’s the extent of their giving.
  • To clarify the point: do not purposely plan tear-jerkers; they are ineffective and do not leave lasting impressions. If emotions come naturally and sincerely on their own – that’s fine… don’t purposely include them as a formula to virtue-signal a spiritual talk. Honestly, most of the congregation can tell if you’re pushing emotion on yourself or others, which will detract from your message.
  • Remember, the Holy Ghost bears witness within all emotions. Humor, wit, passion, humility, compassion, excitement, courage, sharing of talents, etc. True manifestations of the Spirit enliven us and upgrade us. What does the Spirit feel like? The Spirit increases our peace, joy, confidence, and sense of well-being. You feel more alive. (See “The Difference Between the Spirit of the Lord and the Holy Ghost ” if you want to learn more.)
  • Omit travel logs or, even worse – a health log. If you’re in the habit of trying to get attention on account of your health issues…try putting that down and making your life about other things as well. You are more than the illness or impairment that afflicts you – don’t center your identity on that (to yourself or others).

    Feeling emotion and crying at the pulpit is not an automatic sign of spirituality or the presence of the Spirit (credit to President Howard W. Hunter for pointing that out.)

    Kind acts and service to others during the week that no one sees are true spirituality. (Marvin J. Ashton – Apostle)

    Some of the most powerful talks ever delivered at a General Conference don’t have a tear in them and are delivered by those who seldom cry or very little when they do. Don’t automatically be impressed with those who regularly demonstrate emotions/crying or who can sway emotions at the pulpit – so often, that’s the extent of their giving.

    Shawnie Cannon

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    4 Comments

    1. Christopher Poulsen

      Very Awesome site! Thank you for all the guides and resources 🙂

      Reply
      • Shawnie Cannon

        It tickles me that you find it useful. Good luck with your talk.

        Reply
    2. Vic Werlhof

      You are amazing. This is an incredible site. You provide information that every member should have. Thanks, Vic

      Reply
      • Shawnie Cannon

        That’s the nicest thing I heard all week. Thank you!

        Reply

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